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Heavy is the utterly unvarnished story of Kiese Laymon's coming of age in Jackson, Mississippi. Its narrative is addressed "you"—you being his mother, who cautions Kiese in seventh grade to “be twice as excellent and be twice as careful from this point on,” because “Being twice as excellent as white folk will get you half of what they get. Being anything less will get you hell.” This incredible book now joins a memoir pantheon that includes North Toward Home, Black Boy, One Writer's Beginnings, All God's Dangers, Harry Crews' A Childhood, and The Men We Reaped—books that matter and will last a long, long time. It is full of drama and laughter and fear and darkness and love, and to read it is a frightening, joyful and simply awesome experience. With an ear for language as fine as any writer we've known, Laymon and Heavy, with its subtitle of An American Memoir, bring to life Willie Morris' theorem that "America is Mississippi writ large."— Richard
November 2018 Indie Next List
“Telling the truth has always been a radical and political act, but Kiese Laymon writes in Heavy with a rare, vulnerable unity of personal urgency and political clarity. This is a story about how our country’s lies and thefts weigh heavily on the hearts and souls of its black mothers and sons. About how dishonesty about white supremacy, money, sex, and violence threads through our most intimate relationships and causes us to become strangers to ourselves. If Heavy is about lies, it is also fundamentally about the redemptive power of truth, stories, language, and joy. If there’s a way out of the loneliness of being human in a country that does not value or support humanity, Laymon suggests, it is in the connection we find in the words we toss to one another, like lifelines, like laughter.”
— E.R. Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA